It would be difficult to imagine a life that didn’t involve goals. Goals provide inspiration, direction and motivation for nearly everything we do. Goal setting is responsible for nearly all the amazing things that we do, from walking on the moon to diving into the Marianas Trench. In a simpler form, goals get us out of bed in the morning and help us put food on our table. Goals and goal setting are synonymous with human nature and part of who and what we are. Indeed, goal setting is almost always viewed as a positive act on our part and something that drives us to accomplish things.
Goal setting also has a darker side and one that can lead us into trouble. In his book “Destructive Goal Pursuit”, D. Christopher Kayes reviewed the events surrounding the tragedy on Mount Everest in 1996 where experienced mountain guides Rob Hall and Scott Fischer led teams of climbers in a summit attempt of that mountain that ended in disaster. Eight climbers perished in this tragedy...
When things go wrong, or incidents/accidents happen, it is easy to identify how the problem could have been prevented by applying one of the following the phrases ‘If only they’d done A…’ or ‘They should have done B…’ or ‘They could have done C…’ or ‘I would have done D…’ We do this because we are trying to identify a way in which we could prevent the same thing happening again in the future.
This is a natural reaction. We are trying to bring order to disorder and is known as counterfactual reasoning. At its most basic form, we think that if the people had taken different actions, then the outcome would have been different. Unfortunately, we are applying non-existent facts to the story to tell a different one, one with a happy ending.
Here are a couple of examples of counterfactuals in relation to diving:
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